Reclaiming My Body Part 3

This article may be sensitive for certain readers. Please take notice of this. It contains content regarding sexual assault.

If you have not read the first part here is the link to part one.

If you have not read the second part here is the link to part two.

Stages of Recovery

Mourning and Remembering The Event

During the first stages of my sexual assault I was extremely numb and had no emotion. I also felt a sense of humiliation and anger towards my perpetrator. I hated him for what he did; despite me having trusted him for so many years. I started having flashbacks, nightmares, migraines and insomnia. Touch became something foreign to me, something I couldn’t tolerate. I couldn’t even speak for weeks. I believe that most survivors experience some of these symptoms immediately after their assault.

I started carrying on with my life two weeks after the assault, as if nothing happened. No one would think that I was assaulted. For a little while, I was happy and I was not consumed by what happened to me. Until finally, after a couple of weeks, I relapsed and couldn’t cope since most of my Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) symptoms were off the charts. I needed help and that’s when I started going for therapy, to help resolve some of my symptoms. So that I could comprehend my emotions. Dealing with my emotions effectively.

Feeling Safe Again

I started experiencing a lot of emotions. Intense emotions that I had suppressed during the assault and after the assault. I was depressed, anxious and angry. Overwhelmed and controlled by my emotions. I worked so hard to get to a point where I was safe again and started forming healthy relationships. Mind you, I lost so many friends and family members during the entire healing process. They were mostly confused by my emotions. Not comprehending where all this rage came from. I had felt ashamed and guilty for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. It took me years to finally understand that it all wasn’t my fault. That he was to blame but, somehow, I blamed myself for what had happened. I started going out again. I was comfortable in my own skin.

Resolution Phase

During this phase I had graduated from feeling like a victim, to being a survivor and finally, slowly, I was thriving. I was bouncing back and fourth, all in between, the feeling safe again phase and mourning and remembering phase. Healing is not a straight path, nor should it be. It was during this phase where all the dots where connected. I came to understand that the assault wasn’t me. That it was something that happened to me. It will always apart of me, but it shouldn’t define me. Honestly, everything started making sense during this phase.

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Love, Francesca.

If any of you need help after a sexual assault please dial these numbers and visit these websites.

Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust: 021 447 9762 and Rape Crisis Blog.

Please use this booklet to help you in your healing process. Know that you are not alone. You and Your Recovery.

Tears Foundation Trust: Email: and Tears Foundation.

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